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The Scarecrow

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Album Review

After causing quite a stir in the heavy metal community with Avantasia's ambitious, two-album, guest star-packed Metal Opera in the early 2000s, vocalist Tobias Sammet publicly retired the Avantasia name and retreated to the creature comforts of his primary creative outlet, German power metal favorites Edguy. But then a pair of EPs titled Lost in Space, Vols. 1 & 2 emerged in 2007 bearing the Avantasia brand, and it didn't take much longer for Sammet's change of heart to produce yet another full Avantasia album in 2008's The Scarecrow. Though not as thematically intertwined as the preceding operas, The Scarecrow's credits certainly keep with the tradition of bursting at the seams with famous guest musicians (among them Kiss' Eric Singer, Magnum's Bob Catley, Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen, Jorn Lande, Michael Kiske, Amanda Somerville, etc.), and a few more so famous one can hardly believe their participation (the Scorpions' Rudolf Schenker and none other than Alice Cooper). That being said, The Scarecrow is indubitably Sammet's baby, and his songwriting signature dominates Avantasia, even though it affords him with the opportunity to frequently step out from the restrictive power metal umbrella he's carried most of his professional career. Right off the bat, opening song "Twisted Mind" is a traditional, but radio-friendly heavy metal anthem (at least in Europe, where metal is actually heard on the airwaves), and so, seemingly, is the highly palatable ensuing title track, until it evolves into a lengthy atmospheric passage which reveals it for the grandiloquent, eleven-minute epic it actually is. Nevertheless, it's a good epic, and even though none of the subsequent tracks approach its girth, Avantasia scores additional classic metal highlights with "Another Angel Down" (where Jorn Lande really burns the house down), "The Toy Master" (which was obviously written with guest Alice Cooper in mind), and "I Don't Believe in Your Love" (featuring highly regarded free agent singer Oliver Hartmann and guitar contributions from Schenker). Less memorable are The Scarecrow's largely formulaic power metal thrashers ("Shelter from the Rain," "Devil in the Belfry") and power ballads ("Carry Me Over," "Cry Just a Little") — all of which are unquestionably very competently executed, but…well, either you like these styles or you don't. And try getting any self-respecting metal-head to defend Sammet's schmaltzy duet with Amanda Somerville on the Celine Dion-ready "What Kind of Love" — it can only lead to hilarity. Oh, and we should mention that the title track from the aforementioned EPs, "Lost in Space," is tacked onto the very end of The Scarecrow, but its AOR-leaning hard rock feels distinctly out of place. At the end of the day, while it's hardly perfect, there's no denying that The Scarecrow really is an immaculately recorded project — never mind the logistical nightmares that must have been involved — and for that Avantasia and Sammet both deserve respect.

Customer Reviews


Utterly brilliant. Why does great music like this get passed over and crap music hit the forefront?

All i can say: WOW

When i heard that avantasia was coming out with a new album, i was NOT expecting this! Tobias really improved his singing, and there are some really great guest singers, such as Alice cooper. I can easily picture the storyline Tobias gives us along with the music as i listen to this. I am incredibly suprised this didnt end up as the #1 album!! but then again, The best music is the stuff that isnt destroyed by society. but whatever you do, dont buy this album off itunes!!!! this is worth to go tghrough the trouble to go to eh store or the internet and buy it!!! the sound quality is better, and the album in itself is awesome to have. AVANTASIA IS FREAKING AWESOME

Another amazing work

When I first heard Lost In Space and Carry Me Over (when they released early as music videos) I was surprised and a little turned off by the overtly pop sound that differed from the power metal I was used to. At the same time, I couldn't deny that I liked the songs, which for me, is extremely odd for anything pop sounding. Suffice it to say, Tobias has single handedly widened my tastes in music. By doing a few different types of songs on this CD and keeping them as amazing as anything he has done in the past, this album is both very different from and just as ingenious as The Metal Opera. It is worth noting, however, that this album IS still a majority power metal. People simply talk about what's different as that's the surprising part. The only NOT power metal songs on the album are Carry Me Over, What Kind of Love, Cry Just A Little (sort of, it kind of goes back and forth), and Lost in Space. By my personal pick, Shelter from the Rain and Devil In the Belfry are just as rock-out-loud metal as the best of Metal Opera, and I still adore everything else. If you like any of Tobias's past work or are a fan of power metal, this is a must. Avantasia doesn't disappoint.


Formed: 2000 in Fulda, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Tobias Sammet, lead singer of German power metal band Edguy, conceived Avantasia as a massive-scale rock opera featuring the cream of the power metal scene. He spent a year composing the material and recruited various vocalists to tell his story, including Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen, Stratovarius' Timo Tolkki, and Within Temptation's Sharon Den Adel. The backing band featured guitarists Jens Ludwig (Edguy) and Henjo Richter (Gamma Ray), bassist Markus Grosskopf (Helloween), and drummer Alex Holzwarth...
Full Bio
The Scarecrow, Avantasia
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Customer Ratings